Corning, Iowa (pop. 1,635) is our featured rural community this week! The thriving scene in Corning is the result of a forward-thinking community that is full of vision for their small town. We'll be sharing stories throughout the week from local leaders and business owners who are making an impact here. Today’s guest post is from Nick Gray, Julia Paul, Cassie Bissell, and Kaitlin Dorsey - employees of PCSB Bank in Corning who also all have their own side hustles!
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We believe in you. While this is the latest tagline to emerge after a year-long rebranding project that we completed in May of 2016, it is a posture that has always been at the heart of PCSB Bank since our early beginnings in 1866. Our story captures the spirit of this posture best: PCSB has a heart for people and a head for progress. We’re rooted in a 150-year tradition of family values, yet we’re always innovating to make banking easier for you. We’re dedicated to making our communities better, so there is no finish line. We’re always sharpening our skills, brainstorming solutions, creating opportunities, preserving shared values and enjoying the journey with you—because we believe in you. We’re your partners who are here to help you succeed with a modern, forward-thinking approach that’s propelling this community toward progress.
PCSB Bank was founded in 1866 in Clarinda, Iowa which is another rural community roughly 30 miles away from Corning. For the past 57 years, PCSB has been owned and stewarded by the Whitmore Family, whose ties to this area reach back to the 1870’s. Over the years, our bank branch network has grown throughout Southwest Iowa to include the communities of Corning, Creston, Lenox, Mount Ayr and Bedford. Our progress is fueled by our steadfast belief in the Heartland and the opportunities that still exist in our rural communities.
In 2016, PCSB celebrated its 150th Anniversary. To put that into perspective, we’re nearly as old as the state of Iowa! We’ve been around for a long time, withstanding the ups and downs of the economy, the bountiful harvests and the not so bountiful harvests. We’ve supported family farms and small businesses through the generations. There’s a collective wisdom that has been passed down from banker to banker over the past century and a half. PCSB brings a legacy of true community banking to its financing philosophy. We focus on local opportunities that enrich our community and help customers achieve their financial goals.
As all citizens of a small town know, our local economies are dependent upon supporting one another – believing in one another. Our staff know this not only from the community banker perspective, but also from the small business owner perspective as they each have their own ventures on the side. The opportunities in our rural communities are plentiful, and it’s beautiful to see prosperity bloom as we believe in ourselves and one another!
Meet some of our staff and learn more about their side businesses and the great things they’re doing in and for the community:
PCSB Community President and Farmer
My name is Nick Gray and I have been the Community President at PCSB, Corning for over the last five years. In addition to working for PCSB, I also farm. My operation consists of 40 acres of row crop, 70 acres of pasture with 20 head of cows, and 25 acres of hay. I grew up helping my dad on the farm and have always enjoyed it. It also helps me tremendously as an Ag/Commercial lender in the Corning area. Farming for myself keeps me knowledgeable about the current markets, the ups and downs of the business, and helps me with future projections in the industry.
PCSB Relationship Manager and R+F Consultant
My name is Julia Paul and I have worked for PCSB for over five years as a relationship manager. Working at PCSB has allowed me to become more deeply involved on many levels of small business and the dream of having a thriving community to be in. Choosing Corning to have a small business in is an easy choice, as we as a bank support them – all of them, no matter how big or small! A friend of mine started posting on social media she was starting an online skincare business. I decided to message her to see if I could find out more. I am always interested in new things, especially when it has to do with looking younger! You see at this point, I was in my late 30’s and my age was starting to show. After learning about the products and the world-renowned dermatologists that created them, I knew I wanted in on it!
Fast forward four years and I am still an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields and love their products as much now as I did when I first started! Being in Corning and having this amazing community of other small business owners made it easy to talk to people about these products. The Corning community is honestly all about helping one another. I have hosted events inside many of our businesses, making for great collaboration on both ends of our businesses. Doing this, we can all thrive – we truly need one another. We each make up a piece of the puzzle: what is good for one of us is usually good for the other! When all the pieces are put together, we are one awesome community as a whole!
PCSB Loan Support Specialist and Owner of V+Me Chewelry
I’m Cassie Bissell – Loan Support Specialist at PCSB in Corning. About a year ago I started making fun bubblegum necklaces for my daughter, Veda – now two-and-a-half years old. Living in Corning, I’ve learned that this small town has such a huge support and following for small businesses. Because of that, I had a few mom friends contact me about wanting to purchase not only those, but teething necklaces and pacifier clips also! Shortly after, I decided to create a Facebook page – called “V+Me Chewelry.” This whole experience has been great for our mother-daughter relationship. Veda loves helping me pick out which beads should go with each necklace and pacifier clip. I hope in the end, she will look back and not only appreciate the thousands of beads we had to sort through, but also the importance of “shopping small” and supporting your neighbor!
PCSB Relationship Specialist and Owner of K Squared Designs
My name is Kaitlin Dorsey, I am a relationship specialist at PCSB in Corning! My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Kaisley, LOVES her accessories! So I recently started making hair bows and headbands for Kaisley. Eventually word got out that I was making them and I had a couple friends ask for some bows or headbands — and K Squared Designs was born! I’ve recently started making cute little bowties and adorable earrings for mommas. Kaisley loves to help me pick out fabric and leather colors, and loves to help put them all together. The great thing about Corning is the community support for small businesses. We have so many great businesses in Corning that makes this such an awesome place! In the years to come I hope Kaisley can look back and understand the importance of supporting small businesses and shopping local!
Find out more about the rural revival happening in Corning, Iowa here: